The 38 respondents, who include economists, strategists and fund managers, also lowered by 10 bps their estimate of where the Fed would stop hiking interest rates. The so-called terminal rate is now forecast to be 3.2 percent, and the market now sees the Fed hitting that rate in the first quarter of 2018, a quarter later than the previous survey.
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"With inflation low and wage growth weak, the Fed can afford to be patient. A pickup in wage growth in 2015 won't likely change matters, either," wrote Pimco's Tony Crescenzi, suggesting the central bank would tolerate the economy running "slightly hot."
The results suggest that the market senses a commitment by the Fed to begin raising interest rates next year. But changes to the outlook, such as weaker or strong growth, are seen altering the speed of those rate hikes.
"The U.S. economy looks terrific and a challenge for the Federal Reserve will be how to balance the achievement of full employment but not price stability in choosing the path for the federal funds rate," said Allen Sinai of Decision Economics.
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Still, the averages mask a strong debate in the market over the right course for policy next year, with some saying the Fed needs to focus on deflationary concern and others better growth and possible inflation.
"Growth momentum is much stronger than commonly appreciated and more than enough to continue pushing the unemployment rate down," Neil Dutta, Renaissance Macro Research, responded to the survey. "A forward-looking Fed will do what it always has done ... lift rates to anchor business and household inflation expectations."
But John Kattar of Ardent Asset Advisors believes: "The Fed needs to be more focused on the deflationary risk of collapsing oil prices and a surging dollar than on the better employment numbers now. At the margin, I think this makes them more dovish."
The decline in oil is viewed as a positive for the U.S. economy. First-quarter growth is estimated to be about 40 bps higher as a result of the plunge in crude and inflation about 30 bps lower. For the full year, the U.S. economy is forecast to grow 3 percent, a bit better than previously estimated, and 2016 growth is seen at 2.9 percent.